MQA Gets Chopped Up - MQAir Gets Airia

Posted on 6th June, 2024

MQA Gets Chopped Up - MQAir Gets Airia

Lenbrook reveals its vision for MQA's future with Airia, Foqus and Qrono, which together become MQA Labs.

When MQA went into administration last year, it created ripples throughout the streaming community, especially among those subscribed to TIDAL's top tier, which relied upon MQA-enabled hi-res audio streams. TIDAL Masters then turned into TIDAL Max.

MQA was then bought by Lenbrook shortly after the announcement, which had everyone guessing what the Bluesound, NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers owner could do with it, including perhaps offering its own streaming service to sit alongside its BluOS system. Well, we had to guess as the Canadian firm went very quiet after its rather bargain purchase.

MQA Labs Airia

Thankfully, Lenbrook has now clarified things—kinda. Firstly, MQA Labs consists of Airia, Foqus, and Qrono, which together aim to “bring audio processing enhancements  across the music supply chain.”

MQA Labs Airia was previously announced as MQAir to its friends but is officially dubbed SCL6. Thanks to some intelligent scaling, the new codec was developed to provide the best resolution possible across wireless connections, regardless of bandwidth availability. Lenbrook was already somewhat invested in SCL6, with PSB speakers and Sonical collaborating to create “next-gen smart headphones”. The company says Airia “shines as a high-resolution codec with dramatic operational savings and reliability.”

MQA Labs Foqus

Apparently, successful pilots have been run using Airia as a distribution codec for various clients, including third-party streaming services.

Meanwhile, Foqus and Qrono may be sent to play in pro and domestic arenas, respectively.

Lenbrook Media Group (LMG), the umbrella for BluOS and MQA Labs, states that Foqus is set to improve analogue-to-digital conversion. It will then be Qrono's job to bring “a variety of audio processing enhancements to playback devices” in the digital-to-analogue service.

MQA Labs Qrono

LMG underlines that the new players are distinct technologies that operate separately from the established MQA codec. In short, neither Airia, Foqus, nor Qrono require MQA-encoded files. However, the original MQA codec remains part of the MQA Labs family, with licensees continuing permissions to support and render MQA-encoded content, which will no doubt bring in some passive income to the group.

Gordon Simmonds, CEO of The Lenbrook Group, told StereoNET:

These developments confirm our instincts around this team and the value of the (MQA) IP. The creation of MQA Labs and its newest product families reflect Lenbrook's passion to improve the whole audio chain and bring the highest-quality recording, distribution, and playback technologies to benefit the entire speciality audio industry and its fans.

Lenbrook expects to have all three working with partners commercially by 2025.

We will bring you more when we get it.

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    Jay Garrett's avatar

    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi Technology Music Industry
    Tags: mqa  mqa labs  lenbrook  lenbrook media group 


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